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District Court Grants Preliminary Settlement Approval of Visa/Mastercard Case

 

In late January, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York issued an 80 page Opinion and Order granting preliminary approval to the pending $6.25 billion settlement in the consolidated payment card interchange fee class action case (In Re Payment Card Interchange Fee and Merchant Discount Antitrust Litigation, MDL-1720). The settlement class is comprised of all merchants that accepted Visa and Mastercard payment cards from 2004 to the present. The settlement fund is designed to compensate class members for the interchange fees they paid, which were allegedly inflated as a result of certain violations of the antitrust laws by Visa and Mastercard and their participating banks.

Last December, PMAA filed objections to the settlement over concerns that branded marketers would not receive notice or payment because their major oil company suppliers are the only entity known to credit card processors. PMAA argued that it was the marketers who paid the interchange fees. Judge Brodie of the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York addressed this issue by saying, "Class Counsel assured the court that Branded operators would in fact receive notice." Notice of the settlement should go out shortly and opt-outs may be filed until July. PMAA will have more information for marketers soon on how best to proceed.

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